WWII: Who Outranks Who?

By: John Miller
Image: US Army Signal Corps

About This Quiz

When Hitler and his Nazi death machine rolled into Poland in September 1939, the world’s collective hearts stopped. After years of watching Nazism escalate to absurd degrees, it was finally clear – it would take violence of the worst kind to put the Third Reich in its place. Then, in 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the entire world was in flames. 

Along the way, generals and admirals across the globe rose to the challenges of the fight. In this quiz of gallantry, glory and blood-soaked guts, do you know which of these military leaders rankest highest?

In this tricky test of famous names, we’ll stick with some of the most famous (and infamous) names of the Second World War. Sure, you’ve heard of guys like Dwight Eisenhower, Alan Brooke, Bernard Montgomery, Chester Nimitz, Konstantin Rokossovsky, Hideki Tojo and Georgy Zhukov at one point or another in your history lessons. These men literally changed the course of humanity. But do you know how they fit into their military hierarchy?

Do you really know your George Marshall from your George Patton? And do recall whether Albert Kesselring or Heinz Guderian were at the top of the Reich? Find out who ranked highest in this WWII military rank quiz!

He was a top commander who led the planning of Operation Overlord. Who was he?

In the legacy of human warfare, few men have the status of one Dwight Eisenhower. He masterminded Operation Overlord to the smallest detail, and the Allied invasion of occupied Europe slowly but sure rolled back the Nazis.

His big plan rebuilt much of Europe after WII. Who was he?

He was a top aide in WWI and followed that act by becoming General of the U.S. Army in round two. Marshall also served a top advisor to President Roosevelt during the conflict.

He was a genius with armored vehicles in the Red Army. Who was he?

On the Eastern Front, no other man had the impact of Georgy Zhukov, the Marshal of the USSR. His strategic brilliance made him a four-time Hero of the Soviet Union.

He coordinated many of Germany's airstrikes in the war. Who was he?

Few men of the Third Reich had the power and sway of Hermann Göring. He was the top commander of the Luftwaffe, Germany's powerful air force.

He began the war as a follower and became a top general. Who was he?

Omar Bradley was a General of the Army in WWII. He started out as Patton's underling -- but by the end of the conflict the tables were turned, and Bradley was Patton's superior officer.

He wasn't just a war leader, he became an influential politician, too. Who was he?

China suffered mightly under the brutality of the Japanese in WWII. But Chiang Kai-shek -- the country's top commander -- made sure that Japan paid the price in blood.

He chomped a corncob pipe and loved the spotlight. Who was he?

With his corncob pipe and aviator shades, Douglas MacArthur was a beacon of hope in the Pacific Theater. Back and forth he went with Japanese generals, until finally he triumphed.

He helped to defend Moscow from the Germans and later accepted the Japanese surrender. Who was he?

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin trusted few men during the war. But Aleksandr Vasilevsky won his confidence. Vasilevsky was promoted to a top commanding position in 1943, just in time to revel in turning back the German juggernaut.

He was America's youngest four-star general in the biggest war ever. Who was he?

In the European Theater, he gained incredible fame. That's because General Mark W. Clark had the pleasure of leading Allied troops through the streets of a liberated Rome.

He was the top advisor to Winston Churchill during the war. Who was he?

Alan Brooke was a general who eventually became Chief of the Imperial General Staff. In other words, he was the leader of the whole British Army.

He was punished for slapping two of his own men, yet showed enduring brilliance in battle. Who was he?

Patton was a U.S. general renowned for his extreme boldness in the European Theater. But the dude had issues. Unable to control his temper, he lost favor with top American officials and was demoted once during the war.

He was perhaps Britain's all-time most famous general, and dashing, to boot. Who was he?

He fought in WWI and became a shining star in WWII. No other British general exuded the celebrity persona and power of Bernard Montgomery.

He was top U.S. Navy commander who took the lead after Pearl Harbor. Who was he?

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous battle of the entire war. And the guy in charge of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet? Ernest King, who retired almost immediately after the war ended.

He is basically the a modern-day French version of George Washington. Who is he?

He was France's George Washington and Chesty Puller rolled into one. Charles de Gaulle was a top French general who later became a renowed president.

His nickname was "Bull" and he was a world-famous U.S. admiral. Who was he?

William Halsey, Jr. was a Fleet Admiral in the Pacifc Theater. He had the unenviable task of subduing the fanatical Japanese Navy … and he did just that.

Just call him "ABC," and realize that he was one of Britain's best naval officers in WWII? Who was he?

The British Navy was a major key to winning the European Theater, and Andrew Cunningham was the Admiral of the Fleet. He fought the Germans all over the seas.

He ordered the Pearl Harbor attack and was later executed. Who was he?

Hideki Tojo was a top Japanese general, and he had a key part in planning the devastation of Pearl Harbor. In 1948, he was executed for war crimes.

He coordinated some of the most important Allied bombing campaigns in Europe. Who was he?

Henry Arnold was instrumental in building the U.S. Air Force at the beginning of the war. Carl Spaatz, though, was vital in planning America's jaw-dropping strategic bombing attacks, one reason he became a top general.

He was a bomber pilot in the Great War and then became a RAF bomber commander in WWII. Who was he?

He was the Marshal of the Royal Air Force -- Charles Portal. He was a hero pilot in WWI and then in WWII he was in command of many Allied bombing operations.

He was a Down Under hero who eventually found redemption in the wake of major setbacks. Who was he?

Vernon Sturdee was a top Australian commander in WWI, and he was even more important in WWII. He and his men suffered notable setbacks in the Pacific Theater but later happily forced the enemy into famous surrenders.

He nearly died in WWI and then helped lead a major Allied offensive in Italy. Who was he?

Alphonse Juin was a top French general who was captured during the war. After his release, he went right back into battle in North Africa and Italy.

He swept into Singapore and crushed Allied resistance. Later, he paid the ultimate price for his brutality. Who was he?

Tomoyuki Yamashita crushed the Allies at Singapore. Then, he was ordered to stop the American assaults in the Pacific and the Philippines, a task he was ultimately unable to fulfill. He was executed in 1946.

He helped to conquer Norway and Denmark, and later died for his crimes against humanity. Who was he?

Alfred Jodl was one of Hitler's right-hand men, guiding many of the Third Reich's strategies. So it stands to reason that after the war he was executed for all manner of grievous war crimes.

He was a top Japanese admiral who was shot down by U.S. fighter pilots. Who was he?

Isoroku Yamamoto was the Fleet Admiral of Japan's navy into the Pacific War. U.S. code breakers stalked him throughout the war, pinpointed his location, and then used fighters to send his tranport plane into oblivion.

He was a major Soviet general on the Eastern Front. Who was he?

When Hitler backstabbed the USSR and invaded, Ivan Konev was one of the men charged with stopping him. After much bloodshed, he was a key commander who helped the Red Army smash the Wehrmacht into pieces.

Not only was he a top British general, he later became Governor General of Canada. Who was he?

Harold Alexander had a particularly famous role in the war. He was one of the very last British commanders to flee Dunkirk during the celebrated and miraculous evacuation from France at the beginning of the war.

He failed at the Battle of Stalingrad and constantly clashed with Hitler regarding strategy. Who was he?

In the German ranks, Erich von Manstein was a true legend, a master of tactics and strategy. His clever mobile attacks set the Allies on their heels over and over again. He was captured, jailed, and later released, spared the executions that found so many of his comrades.

He had Polish origins but fought with the Red Army. Who was he?

Konstantin Rokossovsky was born in Poland and served with the USSR in the war. He helped plan some of the biggest Red Army victories of the entire conflict.

He was a foxy general in North Africa. Who was he?

He was called "The Desert Fox." Erwin Rommel was an honorable icon of Germany in WWII, known for treating people humanely even as he was steamrolling them with tank divisions.

He led Canadian troops to major triumphs in Europe. Who was he?

Harry Crerar was Canada's top battlefield general in the war. And he was no afterthought -- he was so famed that he made the cover of Time magazine in 1944.

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